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CNN Polls: Economy The Top Issue For Voters In PA & WI; DeSantis, Crist Go Head-To-Head In First & Only FL Gov Debate; Today: Rishi Sunak To Become U.K.'s Next Prime Minister; Surge On Respiratory Illness Cases Strains Pediatric Hospitals; JPMorgan CEO: More Worried About Geopolitics Than Recession In U.S. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired October 25, 2022 - 06:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: New CNN polling shows Democrat John Fetterman with a slight edge over Republican Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania. It's even tighter in Wisconsin. Incumbent Republican Ron Johnson and Democratic challenger Mandela Barnes basically even. The economy and inflation are the top issues for Wisconsin voters followed by abortion rights. Early voting in that state begins today. In Pennsylvania, 44 percent of likely voters cite the economy as the number one issue.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And those voters will hear from the candidates tonight when Fetterman and Oz go head-to-head in their only debate. We'll have more on that in a moment. Tonight, in New York, a highly anticipated debate between incumbent Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul and Republican challenger Lee Zeldin. Zeldin has made crime the focus of his campaign.

And then last night in Florida, it was Governor Ron DeSantis and Democrat Charlie Crist going toe to toe on abortion, the Hurricane Ian response and the state's ongoing culture wars. DeSantis, who may have his eye on the White House, refusing to commit to serving all four years if he wins re-election.

And then this morning, according to a top official at DHS, there is an incredibly heightened threat environment ahead of the midterms. The FBI meeting with sheriffs from America's largest counties last week to discuss the possibility of violence at polling stations, fueled by misinformation.

BERMAN: CNN's Jessica Dean joins us now from Harrisburg in Pennsylvania, the site or the state, which will host this big debate tonight between John Fetterman and Mehmet Oz, the only one we'll see. What do we expect?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John and Brianna, this is certainly a very, very important race in the context of things. It's very likely that the winner of this Senate race here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, will determine who controls the U.S. Senate. So there is quite a lot running on this and a lot of attention being paid to this race. And as you mentioned tonight, we are going to see these two men come together in public for the first and only debate of this campaign.


DEAN (voice-over): A highly anticipated Senate debate in Pennsylvania is finally here. Democratic Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman and Republican nominee Mehmet Oz to face off in their first and only debate of this campaign tonight in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Fetterman who's still recovering from a stroke he suffered in May will use closed captioning to read the questions and answers.

LT. GOV. JOHN FETTERMAN (D), PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: I hear and I understand everything in terms of on words, on paper and understand what I hear, but when we're talking about very specific and having things like this, we're going to need -- I need any captioning.

DEAN (voice-over): Senator Amy Klobuchar appeared alongside Fetterman at that campaign event.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: All of his own words will be spoken from the heart. Now, you know, he was never a polished debater to begin with. Dr. Oz is at his show for 20-some years.

DEAN (voice-over): A CNN poll shows a tightening race between the two candidates with Fetterman maintaining a very slight lead to AWS 51 percent to 45 percent. The poll shows the economy as the number one ranked issue among Pennsylvania voters, more than double abortion the next ranking issue. Crime ranks fifth with only 5 percent of likely voters saying it's the most important issue.

For Oz, who's been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, crime has been a cornerstone of his campaign.

DR. MEHMET OZ, CANDIDATE FOR U.S. SENATOR: The biggest problem I hear in Philadelphia is lawlessness.

DEAN (voice-over): Releasing his plan to combat crime in the state on Monday after Fetterman lambasted him for not having one. Fetterman will receive a huge push by President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama in the final weekend before election day. The two will make their only scheduled campaign appearances together in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, according to a Democratic Party official.

Biden on Monday traveled to the Democratic National Committee office in Washington, D.C. and gave his closing argument to staffers.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So far, we're running against the tide and we're beating the tide.

DEAN (voice-over): So far, this midterm cycle, nearly 7.3 million ballots have been cast so far across 39 states, according to data from election officials and other sources. In New York, Republican candidate for Governor Representative Lee Zeldin, has agreed to debate Governor Kathy Hochul tonight in a race that's tightening giving growing concerns over the economy and crime.

REP. LEE ZELDIN (R), NEW YORK GOV. CANDIDATE: There is a crime emergency in New York State. I have called on the governor to declare a crime emergency in New York.

GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D), NEW YORK: Lee Zeldin saying something does not make itself. Crime has gone down under my watch.


DEAN: Back here in Pennsylvania, what we're expecting to see tonight is quite a dynamic at play. You have John Fetterman, of course, who's recovering from a stroke, who has been clear about those auditory processing issues. And as we've seen, you saw Amy Klobuchar there saying he's not the best debater, we know that. So they're already kind of trying to set those expectations. You have Mehmet Oz who spent decades or many years on television really honing his skills as an honor TV personality. So we're going to see that back and forth.


And John and Brianna, here's what I will tell you. We've been on the ground here in Pennsylvania for days and days, the last several weeks. I'm talking to a lot of people here. There are still some undecided voters. It sounds like a unicorn, but they exist. And, of course, both campaigns really hoping that tonight's debate can move that needle just enough in their direction to win here in a couple of weeks. John and Brianna?

BERMAN: Yes, in a close race, like the ones we've seen in Pennsylvania, all over the board. A few voters can make the difference. So even just a few are decided --

DEAN: That's right.

BERMAN: -- to be decisive. Jessica Dean, thanks so much.

KEILAR: A fierce battle in the Florida gubernatorial race between Governor Ron DeSantis and his Democratic challenger, Charlie Crist. The two candidates clashing over key issues, but the testiest moments of the debate, abortion and a potential presidential run.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: I just think we're better when everybody counts. I understand not everyone's going to be born in perfect circumstances. But I would like to see everybody have a shot. I'm proud of the 15 weeks that we did. I know Charlie Crist opposes that, even though the baby is fully formed, has a heartbeat, can feel pain and can suck their thumb.

CHARLIE CRIST (D), FLORIDA GOV. CANDIDATE: I don't want to ban abortion, I want to make sure we keep a woman's right to choose available to the women of the state of Florida. And I want to make sure that we don't have a governor in the future who wouldn't even allow exceptions for rape or incest. Yes or no, Ron? Will you serve a full four-year term if you're re-elected governor of Florida? That's not a tough question. It's a fair question. He won't tell you.

DESANTIS: I know that Charlie's incent talking about 2024 and Joe Biden, but I just want to make things very, very clear. The only worn- out old donkey I'm looking to put out to pasture is Charlie Crist.


KEILAR: We have CNN Reporter Steve Contorno in St. Petersburg, Florida with us. You know, Steve, I actually slept -- I go to bed early, so I slept through the debate. And when I woke up and read about it, it seemed like DeSantis had done fine. But when I watched it, it looked a little different. You know, it looked a little bit like his lines were canned. He seemed a little shifty there with his eyes in that question about whether he's going to run. What did you think about how this went?

STEVE CONTORNO, CNN REPORTER: Yes, that clip of him declining to say if he's going to run for another four year -- or he's going to stay in office for four years, if re-elected, that is a defining moment of this debate, and maybe of this race so far. And really, it was one of many times, Charlie Crist put DeSantis on the defensive during the course of their first and only debates, forcing DeSantis to answer tough questions about his divisive year as -- four years as governor, trying to paint DeSantis as a bully and a culture warrior who cares more about his political ambitions than running the country's third largest states.

And really, as you said, this was kind of the first time we've seen DeSantis in facing tough questions in this kind of setting since he was elected governor and he was uncomfortable at times. You know, there was gritting of his teeth and and sort of a forced smile. But Brianna, he also did offer a spirited defense of his last four years. And the actions he has taken to restrict abortion in the state, restrict certain transgender healthcare actions, his injection into schools, and the pandemic policies that have made him such a popular figure within his party.

KEILAR: Yes, he's popular with a lot of Republicans in Florida. He's popular with a lot of Republicans outside of Florida. Did Crist change the trajectory of this race at all with his performance?

CONTORNO: Well, look, Charlie Crist was down in the polls and down in fundraising by almost $100 million going into tonight, so -- or last night, so he really had nothing to lose. And he was seeking to create a kind of breakthrough moment that could galvanize Democrats, not just in Florida, but maybe around the country. And to that extent, he might have succeeded.

But, you know, DeSantis had no major slip ups. There were no blinds or anything that were surprising. So it was a real, relatively safe, conventional sort of performance from a front runner. But, you know, Brianna, DeSantis has gotten this far by bucking conventional wisdom and charting a different path. So that's perhaps why he looked a little bit out of step last night.

KEILAR: Yes. Just really interesting to watch it versus to read about it or to listen to it. Just sort of a lesson in that. Steve, thank you so much, joining us from Florida.

BERMAN: This morning, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, will become the next British Prime Minister. He will officially assume the role after meeting with King Charles today. Sunak will be the country's third leader in seven weeks.

CNN's Bianca Nobilo live at 10 Downing Street with more. The new Prime Minister will give his first address as prime minister in just moments. What do we expect to hear?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, in less than half an hour now, just checking the podium isn't out yet. They pulled it out for Liz Truss. They took it away. And then soon, Rishi Sunak will be coming back to Downing Street because he did actually used to live above Number 10 Downing Street when he was chancellor, and he'll give his speech where we can expect a lot more flesh on the bone than he gave us yesterday.


It was his first media address. It was very short and sweet. But his aim today is to try and bring the nation with him. Because he has been designated as the next prime minister appointed by the Conservative Party, he has not been elected by the public. So even though the last few weeks have been focused on the psychodramas within the Conservative Party, the specter of Boris Johnson, all of this infighting, this will be his moment to set out his store and try and convince the country that he is going to be their Prime Minister too.

It's particularly difficult for Sunak as well because despite his strong economic credentials, he is one of the wealthiest people in the United Kingdom. He is the richest MP in the House of Commons. And yet he is going to be steering the nation through a cost-of-living crisis which is likely going to make media, the public, the opposition, a lot more sensitive to any kind of belt tightening that he begins asking the public to do.

We also haven't heard much from him about his projection of Britain's place in the world, how he envisages Britain after Brexit. So we're going to be able to start filling in the gaps of his wider political policies because a lot beyond the economics still remains unknown.

BERMAN: And look, the world will be watching because the world needs a stable United Kingdom economically right now and it's been anything, but for the last seven weeks. Bianca Nobilo, thank you very much.

KEILAR: A group of 30 Liberal Democrats in the House urging President Biden to dramatically shift his Ukraine strategy. They sent a letter to the President on Monday. The group led here by Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal, and they called for direct negotiations with Russia. The group wrote, "Given the destruction created by this war for Ukraine and the world as well as the risk of catastrophic escalation, we believe it is in the interest of Ukraine, the United States and the world to avoid a prolonged conflict. For this reason, we urge you to pair the military and economic support the United States has provided to Ukraine with a proactive diplomatic push, redoubling efforts to seek a realistic framework for a ceasefire."

National security officials say there is no indication that Vladimir Putin is willing to engage in serious diplomacy to end the war.

BERMAN: This morning, the Ukrainian military says that Russian forces are preparing defensive positions and a potential retreat from the city of Kherson, which they've occupied since the beginning of their invasion. Ukrainians living there are struggling to get by after enduring months of Russian shelling, while waiting for Ukraine to liberate them.

CNN's Clarissa Ward is live in Mykolaiv, not too far from there with the very latest. Clarissa?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. That's right. We're just about 35 miles away from the city of Kherson. And Mykolaiv has been getting slammed really since the beginning of the war, but there's certainly been an uptick in the last few weeks. And as Russia has really focused on the critical infrastructure, there have been rolling blackouts here, there is no fresh water, people have to bathe and wash their clothes using saltwater.

At night, there is a very strict curfew, you can't have the lights on. And yet it's incredible to see people are resilient and they say that they don't want to leave. Take a look.


WARD (voice-over): By now, it has become a familiar routine in Mykolaiv. In the relative calm of daylight hours, residents combed through the wreckage of the night before. On this day, it's an apartment building on the outskirts of town. Two Russian S-300 missiles hit at 1:00 in the morning.

(on-camera): So this here is where the first strike hit. And then you can see the second one just smashed in to the top of that building.

(voice-over): Five people were injured but miraculously no one was killed. In one apartment, Andriy (ph) is busy cleaning up. He tells us this is what the Russians do. They shoot not at military objects but where people live, he says. The fact is the anger towards them is rising and it won't go away. Not in a month, not in a year, not even 10 years.

In this southern port city, people have become used to hardship. Since April, there has been no fresh water here. The main pumping station was hit in a Russian strike. Now, they gather every day and patiently wait to stock up.

A few blocks down, another line. This one, for humanitarian aid. Will I be able to get something today? This old woman asks. We already have 100 people on the list, the organizer replies.


Mykolaiv is less than 20 miles from the nearest frontlines and just 35 miles from the Russian held city of Kherson. Last week, Russia announced that civilians must leave Kherson, warning of an imminent Ukrainian attack. Ukraine called it propaganda, distract from recent Ukrainian military games.

It is difficult to get a picture of what's really going on in Kherson. But we managed to connect with one resident who we will call Vitaly (ph), who took these videos. The streets, he says, are empty. But there are people in the markets. Most vendors no longer want to take Russian rubles as they prepare for a potential Russian withdrawal.

(on-camera): Do you have a sense of whether Russian forces have left the city or not?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): There are fewer Russian soldiers here but you find them around the city. Several days ago, there was a rotation and they brought in new soldiers. Part of the soldiers who were here for a while, they left and the new ones came. Probably they are mobilized conscripts. They don't even know what city they're in.

WARD (on-camera): And why did you decide to stay? Are you not frightened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): It's our city. We believe that we have to wait until our army comes. I can't say we are not afraid, we are afraid. But this is our decision.

WARD (voice-over): The people who remain in Mykolaiv have made a similar decision. Back at the strike site, the cleanup has already begun as the city braces itself for the next attack.


WARD: Now, despite all that initial optimism that a Russian withdrawal from Kherson may be imminent, we are now getting some indications from the Ukrainian military, also from the head of military intelligence, that we shouldn't be too exuberant or that Ukrainians in Kherson residents shouldn't get too excited that this is going to happen right away. They say that they do see evidence certainly that Russia is withdrawing its civilian infrastructure in terms of administrative things like banks and passport offices, but they also do see that they are building up defensive position.

So, in short, we simply don't know exactly what the situation is in Kherson or how long it would take potentially to liberate that city. And on the broader picture, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, John, warning Ukrainians last night as Russia continues to hammer civilian infrastructure, that this will be the toughest winter Ukrainians have ever been through. John?

BERMAN: It hasn't begun yet, and we can see you standing in front of the rubble of what was part of Mykolaiv. Clarissa Ward, thank you as always for that report.

KEILAR: The rise in respiratory virus cases straining pediatric hospitals across the country. Some hospital officials say that beds are filled with children with RSV and they don't have the capacity to treat others. CNN's Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is with us now on this story. So Elizabeth, tell us what is the situation at these hospitals across the country.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, some of these hospitals, they are having to treat children in hallways, put beds in hallways. Other times when children show up at the emergency room if they're not in a dire situation, they are waiting for hours and hours and hours. In other places, children who have scheduled medical procedures for other kinds of things, they're have -- they're being told, you know what, you're not going to be able to get there. We're going to have to delay it.

The numbers really say at all. Let's look at a couple of examples. For example, at Seattle Children's Hospital, in their emergency department, 200 percent capacity. Rhode Island's Hasbro Children's Hospital working at 125 percent capacity. And Illinois, they say that only 6 percent of pediatric intensive care unit beds are remaining. So that means, if things get even a little worse, they're going to overflow. Brianna?

KEILAR: And so you have this situation, right, where RSV cases were actually overlapping with the flu season. What are we looking at here?

COHEN: Well, we're looking at kind of by definition that it's only going to get worse because flu has just now started to pick up. So RSV is going up, up, up. Flu, we know, because it does every year is going to go up, up, up. I mean, you don't have to be a mathematician to see what is going to happen there. So more important than ever, that parents get their children vaccinated against the flu and of course get themselves vaccinated too. You're not only helping yourself, you're helping to keep hospital beds available for children who need them.

KEILAR: Yes, such a good point. Elizabeth, thank you for that report.

WNBA star Brittney Griner is scheduled to be back in a Russian courtroom via video conference this hour to appeal her drug smuggling verdict. The case that her lawyers plan to lay out.

BERMAN: Mounting pressure this morning for Adidas to cut ties with Kanye West for his antisemitic rants.


And CNN's Richard Quest moderated an economic panel with the world's top business leaders including Jamie Dimon and the head of Goldman Sachs. Richard Quest among the Titans will join us next.


BERMAN: New this morning, Jamie Dimon, the CEO JPMorgan Chase told our Richard Quest that a recession is not his biggest concern right now. Listen.


JAMIE DIMON, CEO, JPMORGAN CHANCE: It's very good news. Right now in the the United States, people see it, consumers, businesses still spending so lots of money, a lot of fiscal stimulus. But there's a lot of stuff on the horizon, which is bad and could -- doesn't necessarily but could put the United States in recession. That's not the most important thing for what we think about. We'll manage right through that. I would worry much more about the geopolitics of the world today.



BERMAN: So that discussion was part of the future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia today with the CEO also of Goldman Sachs David Solomon, and of course, most importantly, Richard Quest, who moderated, and Richard joins us now. Richard, what more did you hear from Jamie Dimon?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR AT LARGE: Well, Jamie Dimon obviously went through the recession idea. But here at the future Investment Initiative, there is so much money around both Saudi and other Gulf people, that they all come here to basically do business. And on the -- as part of it, discuss what's likely to happen next.

And geopolitical issues, by that you're talking Russia-Ukraine, U.S.- China relations, Saudi-U.S. relations, E.U. recession, the U.K. fiasco, all of these things, they say, are bigger issues than recession. But as David Solomon of Goldman Sachs reminded us, recession is still very much out there.


DAVID SOLOMON, CEO, GOLDMAN SACHS: When you find yourself in an economic scenario like this where inflation is embedded, it's very hard to get out of it without a real economic slowdown. So I, too, am in the camp that we likely have a recession in the U.S. going to have, I think, most likely a recession. We might be in a recession in Europe.


QUEST: Now, nobody is forecasting a recession, anything like that of the 1980s for those of us old enough to remember. But there was an entire generation of people who have no experience of slowdowns, recessions, and tight money with interest rates at 4, 5, 6, 7 percent. So John, the scenario is gloomy. What really worries people hear, what worries all this lot is geopolitical risk, and how it could get a great deal worse.

BERMAN: Yes, a lot of danger points all around the world. Richard Quest in Riyadh, great to have you there, my friend. Thank you.

QUEST: Thank you.

BERMAN: OPEC Plus, Russia and Saudi Arabia are, quote, weaponizing oil and gas. That from the U.S. former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, how he thinks the U.S. should react. KEILAR: And Brittney Griner back in a Russian courtroom this hour to appeal her drug smuggling conviction. That's happening right now what we're hearing.